TITLE: Redemption Chap 2 2 of 4 11 Feb 15
By Randy Somers
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NOTE: again I struggle with my word procession program not showing italics or paragraph breaks.
Barbara walked across the street with the invitation lunch, praying that he would accept. She stood on the edge of the dirt lot and watched as he picked up and sorted out bits and pieces of accumulated junk. She noticed the large piles of rusted metal, plastic, trash, glass, wood and other odds and ends. She saw a skip loader parked nearby.
Watching Chad she noticed that he still worked hard and had that same build she loved to lie next to. Without a shirt on she could see the muscles rippling on his back as he moved. She drifted momentarily to sense the feelings of love she first felt for him in high school. A half smile came to her face as she remembered his awkward invitation to their first date.
"Um, Barbara, um, can I talk with you," Chad stammered.
Stopping on the sidewalk in front of the High School, she smiled, "Sure. What's on your mind?"
Chad almost turned and ran. Her smile melted his resolve. But as his buddies were watching, he continued, "I wanted to ask you, if you really wanted to, um, to go out for a movie or something."
Barbara's heart beat faster. Finally. She had been waiting for months. "Yes. I would like that. What movie did you want to see?"
"Not sure. Something you would like. You choose," he stammered. Since she did not turn him down flat, he added, "We could get something to eat after the movie?"
Barbara laughed gently, "Nothing fancy, maybe Denny's or something like that. OK?"
"Sure." Chad turned to walk away, trying not to swagger.
"Um, Chad," Barbara called.
Turning back he asked, "Yes?"
"When are we going to the movie? Did you have a day in mind?" Barbara teased.
Oh crap. I blew that, "Sorry. I, um, Well. How about this Friday?"
"Tomorrow. Sure. I would like that."
Barbara's smile caused Chad to stand and stare. His buddies came and saved him, punching his arm and dragging him away.
Barbara sighed. I was getting ready to ask him out. Boys!
Chad had turned and saw her. Barbara stepped forward a few steps and lifted the picnic basket as a silent invitation.
Buck stared. He had tried not to think of Barbara since seeing her last night. He slept fitfully, not really dreaming, but vague, surreal memories of their dating and marriage time floated just out of reach.
He woke up angry and tired. Cursing he had stumbled around his small apartment before going to the cafe for breakfast and then to work. Work dulled his active mind, gave him something important to think about.
Now she pops up again. Damn. Silence as his mind flitted through the possible options. It’s just like her. Coming back all pretty and sweet, expecting me to just melt again at her smile and kisses.
“Part of you wants to, don’t it,” chuckled his adversary. “Part of you really wants to get back to her bed. She was sweet.”
Buck pushed those thoughts aside. Get outta my mind you bastard. You’re the cause of all this anyway. I’ll deal with her on my own, without you or your counterpart. I’ve been living that way for ten years anyway.
"Yep. Ten years of experience just vibrating for you. You're starting to vibrate yourself. I can sense it. You want her bad."
The debate slammed back and forth covering ancient battle grounds in split seconds. In the end, Buck relented. He would at least prove that he would not be the one to push her away, like she pushed him.
Buck walked over, “What do you want?” he added without any inflection.
“I had hoped you would have lunch with me,” Barbara asked. “Silvia made us sandwiches and sent sweet tea.” She hesitated as she saw his face, a forced blank look. “I had hoped you would talk with me a little. That we could … Well I would like to explain …
“I've wanted to see you for a long time. I was afraid to come.”
“Afraid? Of Me? Why? I never gave you cause to be afraid of me. I never hit you or cussed you. What in the world would you have to fear from me,” he spat the words out in a rush.
“That’s what I feared, just what you said and all that’s behind it. Your anger and hatred. Your pain. I wondered if you would push me away.”
“Me nah. I’m the essence of forgiveness and grace. You can stab me hundreds of times; I can bleed all over and I’ll just turn the other cheek.”
Barbara drew a slow deep breath, You knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. “We can start with a picnic lunch, if you would like to?”
Buck nodded his head and turned toward his pickup. He was hungry. He washed up from the orange Igloo cooler and walked back. Barbara had laid out the table cover on the ground, in the shade of a large ash tree. She set out the food and poured the drinks. Sitting on the ground Barbara compared their first picnic in nice park to this one. It's amusing and maybe symbolic. The first time was poetic, this time realistically ironic: love mixed in with junk and trash.
Buck’s heart ached at seeing her like this; memories of prior picnics came to mind. The first one in spring, she was seventeen and he eighteen.
A perfect day in his mind. Sunshine. Puffy clouds. Laughter. That was the first time he kissed her and she kissed back.
Walking at the Lake Colorado State park, Chad and Barbara realized they were falling in love. Holding hands and laughing at most of nothing.
They found a shady spot, grassy and inviting. They unloaded the picnic basket and ate.
“This day seems just too perfect,” Barbara quipped. “Did you order the sunshine and warmth just for us?” she teased.
“Me. Sure God and I are on special terms. I asked and he set this up. We must be meant to be together. All of our days are gonna be this special.”
“All of our days? What’d you mean by that,” she poked his ribs.
Jumping away, trying to be manly and not giggle from the tickling, “Uh, I just meant that we’re falling in love and maybe we’ll get married sometime.” Chad paused, “I guess I should say, I’m falling in love with you Barbie. You’re pretty and smart and seem happy all the time. Are you falling in love with me?”
Chad held his breath, waiting for her answer.
“I guess so.”
Startled, “Guess so?”
“Maybe more than guess so. I just don’t like you planning our lives out without asking me. A girl likes to be included in those kinds of plans.”
Chad panicked. “I didn’t mean … what I meant was … Gee Barbie, give a guy a break. Can’t you say that you love me? Don’t you love me?”
Chad’s heart almost burst as she leaned forward. She wore tight jeans and a yellow T Shirt. Her hair had a pale yellow bow around her pony tail. As Barbara leaned forward, his eyes slipped to her breasts and noticed how tight the shirt fit around them. Embarrassed, he lifted his eyes to meet hers.
“Yes, Chad. I’m falling in love with you.”
The kissed then. And again. Sloppy and awkward at first, but satisfying. Reaching around to hold her he lowered her to the ground, lying underneath him.
See, you’re getting hot now. You remember that feeling, almost burst your pants. You want that again don’t cha.
Forcefully slamming the doors to these memories and emotions, he sat down, took his sandwich and started to eat. He paused as Barbara bowed her head to offer a silent prayer of thanks.
Buck kept chewing.
They ate in silence, each not knowing what to say or how to start.
“People around here call you Buck. Why?” Barbara broke the ice.
Buck turned around and so she could see his right shoulder. A tattoo of Army sergeant stripes lay black against his deeply tanned skin.
“When did you get that?” she asked.
“I got to feeling sorry for myself about, what, eight years ago. I went and had it put on,” he answered simply.
“But why the three stripes? You were promoted
“Yeah. I don’t know. Just seemed important to
start at that basic level again. I didn’t spread my name around, didn’t want people to know anything about me, so they started calling me Buck for ‘buck sergeant.’
"See those three guys sittin on that bench across the street?" Buck said as he pointed.
Barbara looked and nodded her head, yes.
"Well the oldest man is a World War II vet. The other two are Korean War vets. When I first started working on this lot, these guys came over and noticed my tattoo.
"Rich, one of the Korean vets nudged Josh the other Korean vet and laughed. 'I remember when you got yer Sergeant stripes. You was what twenty then. You looked more like a kid than a gnarled old war vet. We started calling you Buck then."
'Yeah and they made me in charge of you, you old goat. You gave me more trouble than any of the other guys.'
Chuckling, 'Yeah I did. But I saved yer life a time or two.'
'Yeah, ya did.' A moment of silence passed between them. Josh finished with a friendly shove, 'And yer won’t let me ferget it none either.'
All three friends laughed.
"So we got to talking and traded a few war stories. They came over a couple of times and tried to give me a beer. But they learned that I don't like beer, so now they come over with a bottle of milk. They think it's funny."
Barbara and Buck lapsed back into silence again.
“Would you tell me what you’ve been doing? I keep wondering how you’ve been,” Barbara started.
“Me? Since you left? Well, let’s see. The day after you left for good, I called my sister and asked her to take the boys for a while. The next day I resigned from the Church, helped the boys pack and move in with Ann. I made sure they were settled and left about two weeks later.”
“Left the boys? Why?” Barbara asked
“Why? Why! I died the moment you left. A dead man ain’t no good as a father. Its better that the boys were orphans than having a corpse as a dad. Ann would be able to love and care for them. I would not. A dead man does not love.”
Buck stopped before his anger turned to rage. Barbara had a mist in her eyes that stopped him. After ten years of silence, she drops in and wants to know why? Just like a woman. 'Gee what did I do …?'
Buck regained his composure and continued, “I worked at different jobs for a while. Construction. Worked in a trailer manufacturing plant for a year. Toyed with the idea of re-enlisting. Drove a truck for most of two years.”
Buck paused at this statement. He hastily swallowed the bite of sandwich and drank some of the sweet tea. He had to cool his anger.
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